fabulous food ~ our dinner at The London West Hollywood

26 April 2012 at 9:41 am Leave a comment

Last week my fiance, Mike and I went to California. Mike had gotten a special deal, so he made reservations for dinner at Gordon Ramsay’s Restaurant at The London West Hollywood. He is a dedicated foodie and I absolutely love trying new things, so this was a special treat for both of us. We were told that the dress was “smart casual”, so he wore dress slacks and a dress shirt minus the tie, and I wore straight-leg jeans with a navy blue and white lace covered jacket.

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We drove through the hectic traffic as dusk was closing in and hit West Hollywood where we were bombarded with ads and billboards aimed at reminding the predominantly gay residents to get tested for HIV, STDs, and to use protection. Then we slid into a side street and we were at The London Hotel. It was quiet, serene and there were, of course, valets waiting to take the rental car to parking.

The restaurant was on the first floor just past a comfortably luxurious seating area and gift shop. The doors had a faint pattern containing bamboo and monkeys that was repeated throughout the restaurant, including in the wallpaper behind the hostess desk. There the hostess was very cordial and sat us in a nice corner booth that looked like a plush pink couch you might find in a beach house. The entire layout was decidedly elegant, but the accents hinted at comfort. Faux lamps and stylized golden blinds adorned the windows.

We opted for the five course meal, which our friendly wait staff informed us included two appetizers, one entree, a cheese plate, and a dessert.

PRE-MEAL ~ Before the courses even began

Left: Sourdough crustini and truffle panna cotta.
Right: Crusty loaf of french bread and butter.

The crusty loaf was perfect — the crust was crunchy and crisp without being too tough to chew, while the bread inside was light and fluffy.

SPECIALTY DRINKS

Left: Virgin Mojito
Middle: Virgin Strawberry Daquiri
Right: Virgin White Peach Mixed Drink & Virgin Pomegranate Drink

The deal we found included wine, but because neither of us drink, we asked if we could have some virgin mixed drinks instead, so our waiter asked the chef and bartender and they agreed to give us four mixed drinks.  The mojito was spectacular! My favorite ever! (and I have had a lot of virgin mojitos) The mint was freshly crushed and the lime was freshly squeezed and there was just a slight bit more mint than lime flavor = fantastic.

COURSE 1 ~ APPETIZER 1

Left: (Mike) Roasted Truffle Risotto
Right: (Me) Duck Foie Gras Terrine, Fig Jam Ice Cream & Chocolate Viniagrette

Mike had to order a risotto, because Gordon Ramsay is famous for being quite particular on the show “Hell’s Kitchen” about the consistency and flavor of the risottos in other restaurants. I had a taste and it was devine. It was more like a rice pudding than Rice a roni (which is what I’m used to) and the flavors were skillfully blended. Very satisfying.  The Foie Gras Terrine was very rich and tasted better when I paired it with the croutons or with the sourdough crustini.

COURSE 2 ~ APPETIZER 2

Left: (Mike) Slow Braised Pork Belly, Sauteed Shrimp, Stir-fried green beans
Right: (Megan) Roasted Squab with Udon and Tempura

Both dishes ironically had eggs. The Udon and Tempura were delicious, and equally fascinating was presentation, because they came out and then poured the tempura over the top. A lovely addition was the little dab of orange chile-infused sauce, which really gave the dish a nice overall heat. As you can see all the meat was cooked well, so Mike’s Pork Belly was tender and delcious.

COURSE 3 ~ ENTREE

Left: (Mike) Chateaubriand – Herb Crusted, Potato Puree, Red Onion Jam
Right: (Megan) Mixed Grille of Spring Lamb, Asparagus, English Peas, Carrot Panna Cotta

Mike’s dish was and elevated classic “meat and potatos”. It came warm and hot with a melt in your mouth texture.  The roasted lamb and the lamb kebab were my favorites – they were juicy, moist and tender. The lamb sausage was a bit gamey, but the carrot panna cotta was cool and sweet – a delicious contrast to the warm lamb.

COURSE 4 ~ CHEESE PLATE

Soft goat cheese with grapes, Soft bleu cheese with honeycomb, Soft bleu cheese with almonds & toasted fruit and nut bread crackers.

Both Mike and I were served the same dish — a seasonal artisanal cheese plate. This was perhaps my favorite dish of the night! I love cheese. Each cheese was perfectly balanced with the item it was served with and the slightly bleu cheeses were delicious with honey and nuts. The toasted bread/ crackers were a revelation — just the right amount nuttiness with a hint of sweetness and just dry enough that the soft cheeses made a great contrast. Superb!

COURSE 5 ~ DESSERT

Left: (Mike) Pink Lady Apple Tarte Tatin, Brown butter caramel, Vanilla bean ice cream
Right: (Megan) Chocolate Souffle, Brandied Cherries, Malt Milk Ice Cream

Both desserts were fantastic! Mike’s came hot — love that when you have both hot and cold on a dessert plate! My souffle was rich, and creamy and perfectly chocolately. A wonderful end to a fantastic meal.

We were both deliciously satisfied by this point. I looked down at my dessert plate and thought it would be a great inspiration for a modern art painting:
I think I would call it “Demolished Souffle”.

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